28th June 1922

Irish Civil War begins

A field gun fired across the River Liffey in Dublin was the start of the civil war in Ireland, fought between those who had accepted the Anglo-Irish Treaty, and those who were against it.

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) had been split since the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, into pro- and anti-treaty factions. On the 22nd June, the IRA assassinated the unionist Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson on his own doorstep in London. The British government blamed the anti-treaty sections of the IRA and demanded action from the Irish government. The government were forced to act when a member of the pro-treaty army, Colonel J.J. O'Connell, was kidnapped by anti-treaty units who were occupying the Four Courts in Dublin.

The pro-treaty army attacked the Four Courts and fierce fighting broke out between the two sides. The conflict quickly spread to the rest of the country. From August, the anti-treaty forces used guerrilla warfare tactics of ambush, arson and assassination.

Civil War, Military & Policing
The Four Courts in Dublin bombarded by National Army forces.
National Library of Ireland [HOG57]